(Photo credit: Twitter)
Dozens of militants belonging to the Turkish-backed Faylaq Al-Sham group were killed and injured after a large explosion in an ammunition depot on the Syrian-Turkish border north of Idlib governorate, local sources reported on 1 June.
According to the sources, the explosion occurred on the evening of 1 June in a large warehouse storing weapons, ammunition, and missiles belonging to the extremist group near the border town of Babska.
“The cause of the explosion is still unknown, despite conflicting reports that it was targeted by an unidentified drone, but there is no confirmation about the matter yet,” the sources added.
A video of the explosion circulated on social media, showing missile fragments and debris being propelled outwards, which resulted in a number of civilian casualties as several missiles landed in the surrounding refugee camps.
#Syria | explosion at a major ammunition depot in Idlib near the Turkish border pic.twitter.com/B2Uk1cIIbq
— The Cradle (@TheCradleMedia) June 1, 2022
In addition, some reports said that two missiles landed within the borders of Turkey, although no casualties were reported.
Eyewitness accounts say that a large number of ambulances transported the dead and wounded to field hospitals in northern Idlib.
According to reports, the explosion took place as Faylaq al-Sham militants, with the help of Turkish intelligence, were preparing to transfer missiles from the depot to their positions in the southern Idlib countryside near Syrian Arab Army (SAA) checkpoints.
After the explosion, Turkish drones and helicopters were seen entering Syrian airspace from the direction of Bab al-Hawa crossing and began surveying the area.
As of yet, there is no accurate death toll, as the Turkish-backed militia has refused to disclose its losses.
The explosion came on the same day that Turkish troops launched several attacks in Idlib, including positions occupied by the US-led coalition, marking the first time that Ankara’s forces have targeted positions held by its NATO allies in Syria.
The attack came as part of the start of Turkey’s latest military operation in northern Syria, which aims to establish a 30-kilometer long ‘safe zone’ along Turkey’s southern borders in order to curb what Ankara sees as threats from Kurdish militant groups.
A few days prior, Russian forces carried out airstrikes against positions held by Turkish-backed armed groups on the Syrian-Turkish border, for the first time since the start of their operations in Syria. Further strikes by Russian forces against Turkish-backed rebels took place on 29 May.
The illegal Turkish occupation of northern Syria has been repeatedly condemned by both Damascus and Moscow, as well as Kurdish groups residing in the north of the country who see Ankara’s resettlement project as a threat to their demographic superiority in the area.
On 20 May, the Syrian Foreign Ministry officially condemned Turkey’s latest operation in Syria, referring to it as “colonialism.”